Stakeholder Validation Workshop

for National Policy for Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services in Liberia 

Agricultural extension in Liberia finds itself in transition as Liberia moves from post-war relief and rehabilitation to an environment of development and growth and as increasing numbers of different actors from public, private, and civil society sectors engage in extension service delivery. Liberia’s 2010 Country Investment Plan, Liberia Agriculture Sector Investment Program (LASIP), calls for building extension capacity and transforming the national extension service into a decentralized, demand-driven advisory system. The Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), with support from USAID/Liberia, is leading efforts to respond to these challenges. 

Closing Remarks Panel    .     

To underpin and promote the process of strengthening Liberia’s extension services, the MOA initiated the development of a National Policy for Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services (AEAS). The focus of the Policy is to provide the legal and enabling framework for a pluralistic, decentralized, demand-driven, and market-oriented AEAS system which, while open to all agriculture sector stakeholders, defines its primary clients as smallholder producers, most particularly women and youth, and their organizations. Drafts of the Policy benefited from input provided by a wide-array of stakeholders including: producers; Parliamentarians; field and supervisory extension staff, as well as others, from the private sector, NGOs, and USAID agricultural project implementing partners; representatives of cooperatives and other relevant public sector institutions and ministries, the donor community and international technical institutions, and agricultural education institutions.

On July 3, 2012, fifty-five of these stakeholders met in Monrovia for a day-long workshop to discuss the draft Policy. The Minister of Agriculture opened the workshop with the African Development Bank Country Representative of Liberia, the Minister of Internal Affairs, and the Chair and a Member of the House Committee for Agriculture and Forestry providing initial remarks. Participants worked in small groups to review the draft Policy. Two issues of particular importance were emphasized during plenary discussions. First, the need to build capacity of those from all sectors engaged in AEAS and second, the need to further detail the coordinating platforms proposed to bring together AEAS stakeholders from the field to the national level. In light of these issues, workshop participants advised the Policy should be considered validated. Workshop organizers advised that capacity development would be further highlighted in the policy and that as a next step, details of platforms would be further developed in the follow-on strategy document. A panel comprised of the USAID Agriculture and Agribusiness Advisor, the FAO Assistant Representative, the President of the University of Liberia, and a farmer representative (also a Member of the House of Representatives) closed the workshop with their support of the Policy and their thanks and appreciation for moving the AEAS agenda forward.


Small Group Work